How Post-Tropical Cyclone Lee Stormed New England and Canada

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Post-Tropical Cyclone Lee

You may have heard about Lee, the storm that brought strong winds and heavy rain to New England and Canada on Saturday, September 9, 2023. However, did you know that Lee was not a hurricane anymore when it reached Nova Scotia?

It was a post-tropical cyclone, a type of storm that gets its energy from a different source than a hurricane. Here is what that means and why it matters:

What is a Post-Tropical Cyclone

A post-tropical cyclone is a storm that used to be a tropical cyclone, such as a hurricane or a tropical storm but has changed its structure and characteristics. A tropical cyclone gets its energy from the warm water of the ocean and has a warm core, which means that the air in the center of the storm is warmer than the air around it.

A post-tropical cyclone, on the other hand, gets its energy from the temperature difference between the warm and cold air masses in the atmosphere and has a cold core, which means that the air in the center of the storm is colder than the air around it.

A post-tropical cyclone can still have strong winds and rain, but it usually has a different shape and size than a tropical cyclone. A tropical cyclone has a circular or oval shape and a well-defined eye in the middle.

A post-tropical cyclone has a more irregular shape and may not have an eye at all. A tropical cyclone is usually smaller and more compact than a post-tropical cyclone, which can cover a larger area and have multiple centers of low pressure.

What is Lee

Lee was a powerful storm that started as a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. It moved north and became a post-tropical cyclone, which means it changed how it got its energy. It still had strong winds and rain, but it was not a hurricane anymore.

How Did Lee Become a Post-Tropical Cyclone

Lee was a Category 3 hurricane when it formed in the Atlantic Ocean on September 2, 2023. It had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph and a minimum central pressure of 962 mb. Lee moved northward and gradually weakened as it encountered cooler water and stronger wind shear, which is the change in wind speed and direction with height.

Wind shear can disrupt the circulation and organization of a tropical cyclone, making it lose its intensity and structure. By September 8, Lee had weakened to a tropical storm with winds of 65 mph and a pressure of 993 mb. It was located about 300 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and was moving northeastward at 23 mph.

Lee was expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia on September 9, but it underwent a rapid transition to a post-tropical cyclone before reaching the coast. This transition was caused by the interaction of Lee with a cold front that was moving eastward from the Great Lakes region.

The cold front brought cold and dry air into the storm, which replaced the warm and moist air that fueled it. The cold front also enhanced the wind shear and the temperature contrast in the atmosphere, which increased the storm’s energy and speed.

What did Lee do

Lee hit the coasts of New England and Canada on Saturday, September 16, 2023. It brought high winds, dangerous waves, and heavy rain. It knocked down trees, power lines, and boats. It flooded roads and homes.

It caused power outages for more than 300,000 people. It also killed two people in the U.S. and one in Canada.

How Lee affected New England

In New England, Lee caused a lot of damage and disruption. In Maine, a man died when a tree limb fell on his car. A whale watch vessel broke free of its mooring and crashed ashore. Many people lost electricity and cell phone service.

In Massachusetts, waves crashed against the rocks and lighthouses. Some beaches were closed because of the high surf and rip currents. In Rhode Island, a boat capsized and sank in the harbor. In Connecticut, a tornado warning was issued for parts of the state.

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What Were the Impacts of Lee in Nova Scotia

Lee made landfall in Nova Scotia as a post-tropical cyclone around 1 p.m. local time on September 9, 2023. It had winds of 70 mph and a pressure of 988 mb. It was moving northeastward at 40 mph, which is much faster than a typical tropical cyclone. Lee brought strong winds, heavy rain, and high waves to Nova Scotia and the surrounding areas.

The winds knocked down trees and power lines, causing power outages and damage to homes and vehicles. The rain caused flooding and landslides, especially in the low-lying and coastal areas. The waves eroded the shoreline and damaged some boats and docks. Lee also affected the air travel, as the Halifax Stanfield International Airport had to cancel or delay some flights.

Lee was the second storm to hit Nova Scotia this year, after Fred, which was also a post-tropical cyclone when it landed on August 18, 2023. Fred brought similar impacts as Lee but was weaker and slower. Fred had winds of 50 mph and a pressure of 1002 mb when it reached Nova Scotia. It moved northeastward at 25 mph, bringing 2 to 4 inches of rain and waves up to 10 feet high.

How Lee affected Canada

In Canada, Lee also caused a lot of problems. It made landfall in Nova Scotia, where it flooded coastal roads and took ferries out of service. The largest airport in Halifax cancelled all flights. A man died when a large wave hit his boat in New Jersey.

In New Brunswick, Lee toppled trees and power poles. In Prince Edward Island, Lee ripped off roofs and siding. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Lee brought snow and freezing rain.

Why is it Important to Know the Difference Between a Tropical and a Post-Tropical Cyclone

You may wonder why it matters if a storm is a tropical or a post-tropical cyclone as long as it brings strong winds and rain. The reason is that the type of storm affects how it behaves and how it can be predicted and prepared for. A tropical cyclone is more predictable than a post-tropical cyclone, as it follows a more regular path and has a more stable structure.

A post-tropical cyclone is more unpredictable, as it can change its direction, speed, and intensity quickly and dramatically. A post-tropical cyclone can also have a wider range of impacts, as it can affect a larger area and have multiple centers of low pressure.

Knowing the difference between a tropical and a post-tropical cyclone can help you understand the risks and hazards that a storm poses and take the appropriate actions to protect yourself and your property. For example, if you live in a coastal area and a tropical cyclone is approaching, you may need to evacuate or seek shelter in a sturdy building away from the water.

If you live in an inland area and a post-tropical cyclone is approaching, you may need to secure loose objects, avoid flooded roads, and stay away from downed power lines. You can also follow the forecasts and warnings from the weather authorities, such as the National Hurricane Center and the Canadian Hurricane Centre, which provide information on the type, track, and intensity of the storm and the expected impacts and precautions.

Lee goes post-tropical before reaching Nova Scotia

Lee was a big storm that started in the water and moved up to the land. It was very strong and fast, and it was called a hurricane. A hurricane is a storm that spins around and has a lot of wind and rain.

When Lee got closer to Nova Scotia, it changed how it worked. It became slower and weaker, and it got its energy from different things. It was not a hurricane anymore, but it was still a storm. It was called a post-tropical cyclone. A post-tropical cyclone is a storm that does not spin as much and has less wind and rain.

Lee hit Nova Scotia as a post-tropical cyclone. It still caused some problems, like flooding and power outages, but it was not as bad as a hurricane.

People May Ask

Where did Hurricane Lee 2023 hit? 

Hurricane Lee was a very strong storm that started in the ocean and moved north. It hit some islands and then some places in the United States and Canada. It hit Bermuda, Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Is Lee expected to hit the US? 

Lee already hit some parts of the US, but not very hard. It mostly stayed in the ocean and only brought some wind and rain to the coast. It did not hit any big cities or cause a lot of damage in the US.

Where did Tropical Storm Lee hit? 

Tropical Storm Lee was a different storm that happened in 2011. It also started in the ocean and moved north, but it was weaker than Hurricane Lee. It hit some places in the US, like Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. It brought a lot of rain and caused some flooding.

How much damage did Hurricane Lee do? 

Hurricane Lee did not do a lot of damage in the US, but it did more damage in Canada. It knocked down trees and power lines, flooded roads and houses, and broke some boats and buildings. It also killed three people: one in Florida, one in Maine, and one in New Jersey. The total damage was estimated to be around $50 million.